Battle to save political strongholds


Prominent among these political stalwarts are Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scinida and two former chief ministers, Congress veterans Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath…reports Asian Lite News

Amid the electoral battle between the ruling BJP and the Congress, some seasoned politicians in Madhya Pradesh will also be fighting to save their own bastions and pocket boroughs.

Prominent among these political stalwarts are Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scinida and two former chief ministers, Congress veterans Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath.

A member of the erstwhile royal Scindia family of Gwalior, Jyotiraditya Scindia contested and won the first Lok Sabha (bypoll) election after his father and Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia, a Lok Sabha MP from Guna, died in a plane crash in 2001.

Jyotiraditya Scindia (53) was re-elected as MP from his family’s pocket borough Guna for the next three consecutive terms – 2004, 2009 and 2014.

In fact, Guna was one of the two Lok Sabha seats that the Congress managed to win despite a massive wave in favour of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in 2014.

However, Jyotiraditya Scindia lost the election from Guna against the BJP’s KP Yadav in 2019. One year later, Jyotiraditya Scindia along with 22 Congress MLAs had shifted into the BJP, resulting in the end of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in March 2020.

Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is a Rajya Sabha MP, is contesting his sixth Lok Sabha election, but the first on the BJP’s symbol.

Spanning eight Assembly seats of the three districts of Guna, Shivpuri and part of Ashok Nagar, most of the time, this particular seat was represented by the members of the Scindia family.

Local people said the seasoned politician is taking this election as a matter of prestige and is determined to get his pocket borough back.

Congress veteran and former Chief Minister, Digvijaya Singh is contesting the Lok Sabha election from his home turf Rajgarh.

Interestingly, the Rajgarh parliamentary constituency covers two Assembly segments – Raghogarh and Chachoura of Guna District and one Assembly seat of Agar-Malwa (Susner) along with five Assembly segments of Rajgarh District.

Veteran Rajya Sabha MP, Digvijaya Singh was elected as a Lok Sabha MP twice from Rajgarh, in 1984 and then again in 1991. In 1993, he became the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and remained on the post until 2003.

Digvijaya Singh’s younger brother Laxman Singh represented this particular Lok Sabha constituency five times, including one term on the BJP’s symbol.

As the Congress could win just one Lok Sabha seat in the previous election, and Digvijaya Singh had also lost against BJP’s Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal in 2019, the grand old party, which is striving hard to find its lost ground in Madhya Pradesh, has fielded the former CM from his home district Rajgarh this time.

The Congress had won the last Lok Sabha election from Rajgarh in 2009, while the BJP’s Rodmal Nagar won two previous elections in 2014 and 2019.

Another Congress veteran Kamal Nath is making all efforts to retain his bastion Chhindwara, the only parliamentary constituency the BJP lost in the previous general election.

Though, ex-CM Kamal Nath is not the candidate from Chhindwara Lok Sabha seat, he is leading the campaign for his son and sitting MP, Nakul Nath.

Senior leader Kamal Nath had won nine Lok Sabha elections from Chhindwara, and he would be fighting to save his stronghold.

BJP’s 40 star campaigners for Maharashtra

The BJP on Wednesday announced the list of 40 star campaigners for Maharashtra where the party, along with MahaYuti allies, has set an ambitious target of 45 plus of the total 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

Interestingly, the BJP has included names of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and union minister of state Ramdas Athavale indicating that the party treats allies on par to achieve its ambitious target in Maharashtra and at the national level of 400 plus seats.

Similarly, former Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Ashok Chavan, who is now Rajya Sabha member after joining the BJP, figured in the list.

BJP insiders said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address about 25 rallies during five phases of election.

The list of star campaigners was announced a day before the MahaYuti plans to announce seat sharing agreement (on Thursday).

The list of star campaigners include PM Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Goa CM Pramod Sawant, Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel, Chhattisgarh CM) Vishnu Deo Sai, Madhya Pradesh CM Mohan Yadav , Rajasthan CM Bhajanlal Sharma, Maharashtra CM Shinde and Deputy CM Pawar.

Union Ministers Narayan Rane, Anurag Thakur, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Smriti Irani, MoS Raosaheb Danve-Patil, former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis are also included in the list.

Other star campaigners include Sampat Choudhari, Vinod Tawde, Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Ashish Shelar, Pankaja Munde Palve, Chandrakant Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Piyush Goyal, Girish Mahajan, Ravindra Chavan, K Annamalai, Manoj Tiwari, Ravi Kisan, Amar Sable, Vijaykumar Gavit, Atul Save and Dhananjay Mahadik.

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